Vitamin C | Skin | PhMagg
© Aiony Haust

Synthetic vs. natural: vitamins in skincare

Skincare should be easy to understand and transparent, but every time there is hype, someone finds a way to deliver synthetic substitutes and claim its beneficial impacts. No matter how potent, synthetic compounds miss one great benefit; they have not been balanced through the years of plant evolution but rather made on the spot in a lab. Here is why we believe natural counterparts are better.

Vitamin C | Skin | PhMagg
© Aiony Haust

Synthetic vs. natural: vitamins in skincare

Skincare should be easy to understand and transparent, but every time there is hype, someone finds a way to deliver synthetic substitutes and claim its beneficial impacts. No matter how potent, synthetic compounds miss one great benefit; they have not been balanced through the years of plant evolution but rather made on the spot in a lab. Here is why we believe natural counterparts are better.

Vitamin C

When shopping for your last vitamin C serum, did you check the ingredients list? It is most probable that if you did, you came across ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, or many other forms of synthetically derived vitamin C mentioned below. So what is ascorbic acid, and why is it cited often as vitamin C?

Ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid is synthetic vitamin C manufactured in a lab. Other forms include calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

They all appear in cosmetics and represent a synthetic form of vitamin C. The chemical structure of ascorbic acid is identical with naturally occurring vitamin C. There is just one difference, naturally occurring vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables, where many other micronutrients and phytochemicals accompany it. In contrast, synthetic ascorbic acid is frequently derived from d-sorbitol, often sourced from GMO corn.

What's the difference?

The chief difference between synthetic and naturally occurring vitamins is in their composition. While the naturally occurring vitamins come with many accompanying phytochemicals, synthetic ones are often isolated. As such, if you believe in years of plant evolution, you will know that nature took time to balance micronutrients.

Similar to the wholesome fruit, which delivers complex micronutrients to your body, wholesome raw extracts in skincare combine naturally occurring vitamins with phytochemicals and flavonoids that together benefit your skin. Some research also shows that naturally occurring vitamins might be more potent.

Some studies demonstrate that isolated ingredients may not be as effective when removed from their complex phytochemical composition. As such, naturally occurring vitamins, flavonoids, and phytochemicals in raw extracts can prove much more useful than synthetic and isolated ascorbic acid.

The delicate synergy of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables is responsible for the antioxidant properties of the plant. In the same matter, fruits and vegetables can support our health; raw, unrefined extracts can support our skin’s healthy balance.

Vitamin C | Skin | PhMagg
© Aiony Haust

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Armoire Cosmétique

Explores conscious beauty and discussion with environmentally-friendly women who can inspire change towards a cleaner skincare routine.

How to avoid synthetic vitamins in skincare?

Synthetic vitamins are frequently isolated. Thus, if your product’s ingredients list carries synthetics vitamins, they will be listed in the ingredients list under their INCI name: e.g., ascorbic acid/L-ascorbic acid for vitamin C, or tocopherol for vitamin E.

Securing the delivery of complex antioxidant properties and naturally occurring vitamins in skincare can be achieved only by selecting bioactive, raw, unrefined ingredients packaged in a container that can protect its properties. This is because naturally occurring vitamins are frequently unstable, especially vitamin C that is sensitive to light.

When selecting raw bioactive skincare, make sure you pick up one packaged in dark glass, which can protect the ingredients from oxidation and preserves its bioactive properties.

The best options come from companies that analyze each fresh batch for their bioactive ingredients, such as Phaedra Botanicals.

Their Erato’s Multipurpose Essence combines organic French Ente plum, celebrated in France for centuries for its antioxidant properties, and contains full-spectrum vitamin E and antiaging flavonoids, such as Rutin. Organic mango seed and tomato seed extracts offer complex naturally occurring vitamins, including vitamins A, E, and C, together with beneficial carotenoids delivered in a raw mixture free from harmful environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and heavy metals.

More recently, Phaedra Botanicals also introduced their new ON-DEMAND FRESH SERIES that introduce serums prepared completely fresh upon order through their 6-weeks-long circles.

Erato’s Multipurpose Essence, €69.00

It features French Ente plum, Indian mango and Lycopene-rich Greek tomato, offering full-spectrum vitamin E, as well as vitamins A, K, C and beneficial fatty acids, flavonoids and antioxidants.